NYT Writer Says His Children “Cannot” be Friends with White People

I was troubled to see an opinion piece in the New York Times over the weekend, the premise of which was to wonder whether or not he would recommend to his children that they could be friends with white people (spoiler alert: his conclusion was “no”). The reason? The election of Donald Trump, of course.

The author, Ekow Yankah, lists behaviors, character traits, and policies of Trump’s which he finds objectionable and essentially notes that, because white people voted for him, he will teach his small children they “cannot” be friends with them. Why? He makes the assumption that Donald Trump is president because people were in favor of his policies.

While there are, clearly, many Americans of all races who favor some or all of his policies, that is not what decided the last election. The 2016 presidential election came down to which candidate was hated the least. As a percentage, very few actually supported Trump or Clinton. In fact, it was quite clear that both sides felt stuck with the candidate they had and were in a dilemma as to what they were going to do come November.

Plenty of rank-and-file Republicans were embarrassed that this was the candidate of their Party, but when faced with the prospect of Hillary Clinton as president, they swallowed their objections and voted in the only way they felt they could. And, certainly, let’s not pretend that the least likable, most corrupt presidential candidate in recent memory was dearly loved by her base. No, the base of the Democrat Party was revolted and / or terrified by Trump, and that outweighed their distaste for her. When it all shook out, however, it appears that she was even more hated than Trump.

Even though it seems Mr. Yankah’s premise is at least partially faulty, his troubling views ought not be dismissed, as they find resonance with a percentage of the population.

He says in his piece that he is heartbroken to be in this place and holding these views. I was heartbroken to be reading them, because it is a further splintering of any foundation we had as a nation. Race relations have deteriorated significantly in the last eight years, and I fear things won’t be getting better any time soon.

As a white person, I can only own the experiences I’ve had living in America. And as a conservative, it could be easy for me to look at these types of sentiments with a skeptical eye, since this is supposed to be the Land of Opportunity where bigotry can’t ultimately hold you back, since you can go elsewhere if you’re discriminated against. But that wouldn’t move me closer to my goal, which is healing and reconciliation.

If we hope to heal these growing rifts, we all need to come together on some things. As Americans can we acknowledge that different races have had different experiences in this nation and that, just because I haven’t experienced a thing doesn’t mean it doesn’t go on?

Additionally, can we also acknowledge that the injustices that occur are not ubiquitous? There are racists and non-racists in every race. I’m not trying to make a moral equivalence here; rather, I’m pointing out that if one begins with the premise that this nation is inherently rotten and irredeemable, there’s no place to go from there except further destruction.

As it now stands, Americans of many races feel under attack, which leads to defenses being raised and readiness to lash out. The question I hope we are all asking ourselves is: What can I do to contribute to the healing of our nation?

Can we listen to those with grievances without raising our own defenses? It’s their story. Let them tell it. And for those who have experienced racial injustice, can you acknowledge that just because a person is white doesn’t automatically make them a racist?

I’m not naïve in thinking this wound is going to be healed quickly. It’s not. But we all see how fragmented and hate-filled America has become, and if each of us doesn’t begin to take ownership of what we might be able to contribute to the healing we so desperately need, we might as well resign ourselves to our fate as we continue to eat each other alive.

The Apostle Paul says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Maybe we could start there.

Reject Voices of Prayer-Shaming: They Don’t Represent Reality

Very soon after the massacre which occurred at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday, instead of the usual American response of coming together, offering prayers and empathy and shared grief, we were further shocked by near-immediate “prayer-shaming.”

Prayer-shaming. Would we ever have conceived that such a thing could occur publicly in America? And, why? What is the purpose in the wake of such an evil act when people are hurting? Yet here we are.

The question—and challenge—I would like to offer is this: How will we let the few loud voices affect us? People in the media have the microphone and all the speakers in surround sound. Those on social media have a megaphone. When we’re exposed to the cacophonous racket of the nonstop yammering of it all, it’s impossible for us not to be affected by it.

Am I suggesting we disconnect? No—although a fast from media is sometimes necessary to cleanse us from the ways it pollutes us.

What I think is far more helpful is to evaluate the messages you’re taking in: Do they represent reality, or are they merely perception?

In politics they say perception is reality, but in reality—reality is reality.

So back to the topic at hand: Prayer shaming. The fact of the matter is that, even though it was a rude shock to experience prayer-shaming at all, much less for it to come so callously just after a tragedy, simply because people with some sort of a platform said it, does it make it reality? Or can we reject it along with other nonsensical ideas we’re faced with?

In truth, I can see why they’d think such comments might be acceptable. Much of America seems to have reduced God to no more than their mascot, pulling out the “God card” in times they feel they “ought” to (when they need to appear spiritual), or during Christmas or Easter (although He’s being shoved further and further to the background there as well).

But it’s not always been this way, and it doesn’t need to be this way now. George Washington, for example, said

I am sure there never was a people who had more reason to acknowledge a divine interposition in their affairs than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that agency which was so often manifested during our Revolution—or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of that God who is alone able to protect them.”

And, for goodness’ sake, it was Mr. Irreligious Founder himself, Benjamin Franklin, who called for prayer at the Constitutional Convention as it deteriorated before his eyes:

In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection.

Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity.

And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth–that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House they labor in vain that build it.”

I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and by-word down to future ages.

I therefore beg leave to move, that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of the City be requested to officiate in that service.”

All throughout our history as a nation, we have acknowledged God and the necessity of prayer. As individuals, we have regularly called on Him in times of need and times of plenty. Our health as a nation relies on our commitment to God.

So reject those voices who would call you away from God and toward a callousness of soul. That’s not who we are as a people. Snark, cynicism, and just plain nastiness in the media and on social media are pushing us in that direction, but we can choose differently.

We can choose to return to God through prayer. We can choose to let him give us a heart of flesh in exchange for our heart of stone. We can choose to draw near to Him so He can give us the capacity to love our enemies as He commanded us to.

Or, we can continue down the road of hate-filled mocking derision, which we daily glut ourselves on at every turn.

Which path do you choose?

We Now Know Russia is Actively Seeking to Divide Us: Will We Let Them?

When officials from Facebook, Twitter, and Google were summoned to testify before Congress this week about Russian influence in last year’s presidential election, a number of revelations came out. Given the enormous amount of attention paid to that topic, most of us are, quite frankly, tired of hearing about it. But we must not tune out, and here’s why.

The most important thing to remember from this week’s testimony is that Russia actively sought to further sow division among Americans. The question is: Will we let them? If we turn a blind eye to all of this because we’re sick of it, the default answer is, “yes,” because we’ll be ignorant of their strategy and powerless to resist it.

Here are a few things that have come out, not only this week, but in the last month or so as well:

The final point is an important one to note. It’s unknown how many of the bot accounts are from a foreign government, but we do know they spread disinformation, can cause hashtags to trend, and give entirely fabricated impressions as to the favorability (or unfavorability) of a position stated in a tweet based on Likes. During this week’s hearing, Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) noted:

I’m concerned that Twitter seems to be vastly underestimating the number of fake accounts and bots pushing disinformation.”

That’s a whole lotta disinformation targeted at all of us. Here’s the question: What are we going to do about it? It seems that most Americans’ response to nearly anything that is difficult in the news is to move on. Keep scrolling. Whatever.

But the Russians are very good at this type of thing and it’s commonplace for them to use these tactics. We ignore them at our peril.

In reality the main thing we need to do now that we’ve been made aware of it is to be vigilant and not fall for it anymore. Does a story or a group or a tweet seem a little too juicy? A little too good to be true? It probably is.

We all recognize the dangerous levels of hate and division in our country, and now we know at least part of its source. Isn’t hating someone for holding an opposing political view tiring? Let’s not play right into the Russians’ hands by weakening ourselves from the inside. (Are you marveling, like I am, that that’s a valid and relevant statement in a post-Cold War era?)

The Democrats are already threatening to regulate (that’s so unlike them, right?). It’s incumbent on citizens of a free society to be well-informed and involved if we wish to hold on to that freedom. As Thomas Jefferson said:

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.”

Canada Passed Assisted Suicide Bill Last Year and is now Considering Child Euthanasia

It was only last year that Bill C-14 passed in Canada, which legalized physician assisted suicide. Now they are already they are looking into the same for minors.

A report was released last week giving some preliminary results based on surveys sent to pediatricians. From the CBC article:

“Almost half the respondents surveyed (46 per cent) said they were in favour of extending assisted death to mature minors ‘experiencing progressive or terminal illness or intractable pain.’

“But fewer pediatricians (29 per cent) believed medically assisted death should be available to children or youth with “an intolerable disability.” One-third opposed assisted death for patients under 18 years of age under any circumstances.

“Thirty-five pediatricians said they had “exploratory discussions” with a total of 60 patients under the age of 18 in the preceding year. Nine pediatricians received “explicit requests” for assisted death from a total of 17 minors.

“Out of the 1,050 pediatricians who responded, 118 said they had exploratory discussions about assisted death with the parents of sick children, involving 419 kids in all.

“Forty-five respondents said they had received explicit requests for assisted death from parents, involving a total of 91 children. More than half of the requests involved a child under a year old.”

We need to keep in mind that these parents were having these conversations while it is not currently legally permitted. When and if it becomes law, a certain level of moral acceptance always follows, so there is no doubt these numbers would rise significantly.

At the outset we can all acknowledge that no one—ever—wants to be in this position. We all have compassion on suffering children and their parents. As a parent myself, I thank God Almighty that I have never had to endure watching my child suffer in such a way.

At some point, however, I think the question needs to be asked: Is anything wrong with anything?

Here in the United States we’re not currently facing any such Sophie’s Choice, but the people of Canada likely soon will be, and we’re often not far behind.

Here we haven’t entirely banished God from our national consciousness—yet—and there, too, Canada is further down that road. We still pay occasional lip service to some traditional acknowledgement of Him—usually after a tragedy, and occasionally at Christmas and Easter. Like a mascot.

But with tacit rejection of God and His moral laws, how do we make decisions fraught with such extreme pain?

Influential agnostic British philosopher, Bertrand Russell, when asked how to judge between good and bad answered, “On the basis of feeling, what else?”

Is that it? Is that what we’re going to go on for moral decision-making? God, help us. (That was an actual prayer.)

Here are some problems I see with this:

First, even if you disregard God and His authority over all life and, therefore, believe adults have the right to take their own lives, please acknowledge the slippery slope of where this has led and where it may lead.

The Netherlands were the first to pass doctor assisted suicide, and that led to seniors being fearful to go into hospitals, not knowing whether or not they’d come back out (alive). So, yes, that has happened. And now we’re talking about children.

Can we admit that people are imperfect and don’t always make the best decisions? Sometimes we make decisions before we have other facts which might cause us to choose differently.

Do we think children are in a great position to make literal life and death choices? Have they acquired wisdom? Good judgment? Knowledge of how it would affect everyone around them? Or would their choice be solely based on the pain they’re suffering now?

Of course it would.

What about putting it in the hands of their parents who, hopefully, would have wisdom, good judgment, etc. Why would we do that to parents who are themselves suffering so greatly watching their child suffer, wishing there was anything—anything—they could do about it.

But now they would be forced to decide the fate of their own child? What if their son begged them for death, knowing they were the ones who had to decide? If that violated their conscience, they would be in the position of not only having to watch him in pain day after day, but they would know it was their decision that kept them there.

Speaking of conscience, what about the guilt parents will be racked with if they make the decision to end their child’s life? No matter how merciful they thought the decision was, they will be forced to live for the rest of their lives knowing that they were the ones who chose. It is not kind to put people who are already suffering in that position.

But now that we’ve untied ourselves from our moral moorings, these are the decisions we’re increasingly faced with.

So I’ll ask it again: Is anything wrong with anything? And on what basis do we make that determination? On the basis of feelings, like Bertrand Russell?

We’d better figure it out soon.

Bisexual Student Reprimanded for making Factual Statement about Islam

When you think about heading off to college, what’s the first thing that enters your mind? A new adventure? New ideas being presented to you? Your mind being stretched and challenged? To use today’s vernacular: LOL! That’s SO last century (well, and many other centuries prior to that, but they’re all filled with old, dead people, meaning that’s all clearly irrelevant to us)!

The University of Texas at San Antonio’s Philosophy department, for example, doesn’t seem to be a fan of, well, students speaking freely in private conversations.

Last fall, grad student Alfred MacDonald got in some hot water when he made a factual statement about Islam in a conversation with fellow students. When one of the students mentioned that she was engaged to a Muslim, MacDonald said it troubled him that, as a bisexual, he could be killed in 10 Muslim countries.

Astonishingly, he was called into the chair of the department’s office to be lectured and warned that “this kind of thing will not be tolerated”.

What kind of thing? “Making derogatory comments” and “trying to make other graduate students feel terrible for our emotional attachments.”

As if that weren’t incredible enough, when he wasn’t immediately repentant, she instructed him that if he “didn’t understand,” he would be referred to the “Behavior Intervention Team” (George Orwell, is that you?). The Behavior Intervention Team is “trained on talking to people about what’s appropriate or what isn’t.”

Just let that sink in for a moment. From the Philosophy department chair.

From the transcript of the conversation, department chair Eve Browning made repeated arguments in an attempt to get MacDonald to change his behavior. At one point, she said about his comments, “Those are things that would get you fired if you were working in my office. The Islam comment would get you fired.”

Surprised, MacDonald asked, “Would it really get me fired to say that I could be killed somewhere?”

“In that situation as you’ve described it, absolutely yes.”

“How?” he wondered.

Inspiring further intellectual curiosity, she said, “Don’t even ask. It’s clear you’re not taking my word for it. I don’t care to convince you. If I can’t persuade you that it’s in your interest to behave in ways that other people don’t find offensive and objectionable, then at least I’ve done my job.”

“Well I know that it’s in my interest,” MacDonald responded. “I’m just trying to understand the reasoning.”

“You don’t have to.”

“Well, this is a truthseeking discipline!” he noted with frustration.

When MacDonald made the interaction public this summer, The College Fix reached out to him. From their report:

“In the philosophy department, there was an overwhelming sense that everyone wasn’t saying everything they were thinking. Very few people — students or faculty — were direct with their complaints about virtually anything,” he told The Fix. “… The graduate students were reserved to an unusual degree. … It felt like I was in high school again; people should be direct, straightforward, and transparent with each other to the extent that this is socially possible, and this was the opposite of what I experienced.”

We’ve all heard so many absurd and appalling instances coming from college campuses in recent years. Empathy tents and safe spaces and, oh yeah, students at Evergreen State College effectively holding the president of the college hostage are all things deserving of ridicule.

But there are a number of thing particularly troubling about this instance. For one, someone actually reported comments a student made in a private conversation to campus authorities–and then they summoned him for potentially disciplinary action. For factual statements he made. And this was the Philosophy department (I thought philosophy meant “love of wisdom,” but perhaps I’m mistaken). How did this college get to the place where this employee’s actions were the correct ones?

I remember watching a film called The Lives of Others, which depicted life in Communist East Berlin before the Wall fell. There was a scene in which two people wanted to speak freely, so they left the apartment to speak outside in case they were being recorded by the authorities (which, in that instance, they were).

Secondly, I was struck by the emphasis by Browning on behavior. That’s all that seemed to matter–that the behavior matched their standards of conduct (in this case, not offending anyone). So, if we’re all trained monkeys and do exactly what we’re told (and don’t worry your pretty little head about understanding the reasons, pumpkin–not even in the philosophy department), then we’ll have, er, what did Ms. Browning say, “success”?

What great lament I feel that I was not exposed to her advice sooner. To think, I’ve spent so many years wasting my time on spiritual and character development, when all I needed was for someone to tell me which levers to press and which boxes to check in order to have “success.” Success according to whom? If I may quote Ms. Browning: “Don’t even ask.”

We’d better start asking, and soon, if we don’t want a generation of people who can’t (and don’t want to be bothered to) think for themselves, but would rather wear shirts reminding them to “Obey.” Oh, wait…

The Reformation Still Impacts You in Ways You May not Even Realize

In the world of Protestant Christianity, today is known as Reformation Day. On this day exactly 500 years ago, a monk named Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church.

This was the usual means to communicate that you had some things you wished to discuss or debate. Luther wrote them in Latin, which indicated that he intended to open an academic debate. He was not trying to cause division, and he certainly was not trying to split off from the Church of Rome.

He disagreed with the Roman Catholic practice of selling indulgences and wanted to make that known in order for it to be discussed.

Who cares, right? That was 500 years ago, so what does it matter? It matters because of the impact it has on us to this very day.

Another of Luther’s objections was that the Bible wasn’t translated into the common language for the common man to read. This was not a new complaint against the Church, who opposed John Wycliffe nearly two centuries earlier for the same reason (as well as criticisms Wycliffe, like Luther, brought against the Church).

Why is it that Luther’s objections took hold and spread while Wycliffe’s did not? One answer is the printing press, which was invented after Wycliffe had died. Luther’s 95 Theses were printed and distributed, causing more and more people to be exposed to his ideas.

Luther also translated the Bible into German, so every literate person could read it for themselves.

It’s true that the “Luther Bible” wasn’t the first translation of the Bible into the common language, nor was it even the first Bible to be printed on the printing press.

I believe it was the combination of Luther’s ideas, spread by the printing press, followed by the Bible being put into the hands of average people which caused this to be the period of change and not times prior. Ideas have consequences, and the Bible has some ideas which are downright dangerous to tyrants.

Following the Reformation a number of important events took place. In 1563, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs was published, the purpose of which was to expose abuses of the Roman Catholic church (which you can interpret to mean the government) against Protestants.

Around the same time, the Geneva Bible was also published, containing annotations sometimes critical of government. The Geneva Bible was popular among the Puritans and was brought over by them on the Mayflower.

The Bible was indispensable to the work the Puritans were doing in the New World, but most still could not read the Bible due to rampant worldwide illiteracy. Therefore, one of the first public education bills passed in the Massachusetts colony was the Old Deluder Act of 1647 (the old Deluder being Satan and the purpose of the bill was to ensure children were educated so they could read the Bible).

There are many other profoundly important constitutionally-protected rights we enjoy today which I could list, such as the right of conscience and freedom of religion, both being outcroppings of the Reformation. But I think it be would simpler to note that a strong case could be made that America itself is a fruit of the Reformation.

When I think about these people and events and places, I can do nothing but marvel at “the invisible hand,” as George Washington put it.

I think about the evolution of history and how Wycliffe made an attempt, which might have had better success had the printing press existed. Even the Puritans—and later, some of the colonies—didn’t get religious liberty entirely correct, since there was institutionalized religious discrimination that took place.

And yet, as time went on, more and more things were put right. The abominable practice of slavery, for example.

As I’ve reflected on all of this, I’m reminded of a couple of things. The first is that God takes the long view when it comes to history. We do not. When you look at what God has done throughout time, it seems as if He’s content to work incrementally. Or, perhaps, it’s because he’s chosen to work through humans, who cause Him no end of problems, so maybe that’s the cause of the plodding pace.

That leads me to my second thought: how amazing it is that He uses such sinners. Most of the Bible was written by murderers (Moses, David, and Paul). And it’s well known by now that Martin Luther said some inexcusable things about Jews later in life. While we can rightly condemn those words, we can simultaneously thank God for using even such a sinner as he.

As we’re in the process here in America of scrubbing our history clean of anyone who does not meet 21st century standards, we might do well to take the smallest step back from our sanctimonious high horse and remember that our posterity will find things about us to be appalled by as well.

John Newton, writer of “Amazing Grace” and captain of a slave ship before Jesus got ahold of him, said it well: “I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.”

Soli Deo Gloria.

Confused? Here’s This Week’s Russia/Clinton/DNC News Distilled Down to Bullet Points

This Russia / Trump / Comey / Clinton campaign / DNC story is complex and has become unwieldy. Add to that the first charges in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election were filed yesterday, and it’s enough to make anyone feel like the first time they waded into The Lord of the Rings: Too many names and places and dates.

The instinct is to tune out because we’re all busy and we don’t have time to weed through all of this. Because of that, I thought I’d boil it down for you so you could be informed in the quickest way possible. This story is important for many reasons. Please don’t tune out.

The Players:

Fusion GPS: A law firm hired to do opposition research

Christopher Steele: Former MI6, hired by the Clinton campaign and the DNC, compiled the salacious and not-entirely-corroborated “Trump Dossier”

James Comey: Was FBI director at the time; Used Christopher Steele’s dossier on Trump (paid for by the Clinton Campaign and the DNC) to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign in 2016

Natalia Veselnitskaya: Russian lawyer, met with Donald Trump Jr. in June 2016, claiming to have dirt on Hillary Clinton

Rinat Akhmetshin: In the same meeting with Donald Trump Jr.; former Soviet counterintelligence officer, reportedly worked for GRU (Russian Military Intelligence), specializing in subversive political influence operations involving disinformation and propaganda. He was working with Fusion GPS lobbying for Kremlin interests to ease international sanctions.

Why is this just now coming to light:

The Fusion GPS, on Tuesday, was released from their client confidentiality obligation, which is how we now know about the Clinton campaign and DNC involvement in all of this.

The New York Times published an expose on this earlier in the week, with correspondent Maggie Haberman angrily tweeting, “Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year”

What happened:

  • It has now been revealed that Fusion GPS was originally hired by Free Beacon to do opposition research into Trump and other GOP candidates from Fall 2015—Spring 2016.
  • When they discontinued with Fusion GPS, the Clinton campaign and the DNC picked up where they left off and additionally hired Christopher Steele (MI6 Trump dossier guy).
  • Steele came up with the Trump dossier and spread it around D.C. (including the FBI) in the summer of 2016.
  • The FBI (remember James Comey?) used the dossier (paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC) to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign.
  • Steele also spread the dossier to reporters in the fall of 2016 in the weeks leading up to the election, but reporters chose not to report on it until January 2017 (you know, when Trump was being inaugurated?).
  • An additional part of this story is a meeting which took place in June 2016 between Donald Trump, Jr., Natalia Veselnitskaya (Russian lawyer), and Rinat Akhmetshin (former Soviet counterintelligence officer specializing in disinformation and propaganda).
  • Trump, Jr. took the meeting because he was promised dirt on Hillary Clinton (which he never got).

Here are the main points (and why you should care) :

1) The Russians were playing both sides against the middle in last year’s campaign. They were involved, clearly, but their main goal was to sow division among us. This kind of scheming is old hat for them (I mean, hello, this is the former Soviet Union we’re talking about. If you’re unfamiliar with their tactics, I would encourage you to brush up on their history).

The question is: Will we continue to walk blithely along, not acknowledging that a foreign government would use underhanded means to cause our nation harm by influencing our elections?

2) Whichever side of the political spectrum you fall on, if anyone is found to have committed criminal activity, they should go to jail like you or I would if we had committed the same crimes.

We were always supposed to be “a nation of laws, and not of men,” meaning that it didn’t matter what your connections were or how powerful you were—justice was blind. At this point, we can either return to being the constitutional republic we once were, or we can embrace cults of personality, complete with the corruption characteristic of every other banana republic.

3) At the end of the day, we still need to look at as the responsible parties for this pile of political puke. It’s taken us a long time to get here, and it will take us a long time to clean it up, but our politicians are a reflection of us. Yes. They are.

You may hate Donald Trump—or you may hate Hillary Clinton. But we must get back to the core of truly wanting justice no matter who’s involved. Look. James Comey had to have known that Dossier was funded by the Clinton Campaign and the DNC.

If you hate Donald Trump and are glad he acted the way he did (meaning, as FBI director, he was acting in a thoroughly political manner), just consider: Would you be glad if the Trump FBI chief did the same thing?

I suspect not. Corruption is corruption, and if we don’t return to being the people who require honesty and blind justice from their politicians (because we are honest and require that of ourselves), we can, ultimately, wave goodbye to our freedoms and admit that our side winning was more important than the freedoms it was our duty to preserve for our children.

Newly Released FBI Report about Sandy Hook Reveals Details about What the Police Knew

Nearly five years after the horrific mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the FBI has released more than 1,500 pages of documents related to the investigation.

Among the revelations in the documents, the most astounding was the fact that the Newtown police were told that Adam Lanza, the gunman, wanted to carry out that specific crime — and they did nothing.

A resident of the town said she overheard Lanza say he “planned to kill his mother and children at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut.” She also said that he “had an assault weapon and that she was scared of him.”

When she told the local police, they told her that, since his mother owned the guns legally, there was nothing they could do about it. They suggested she call the state police.

There were additional details in the report which, in retrospect, could have raised red flags, particularly after it was known that Lanza said he wanted to kill his mother and children at the school.

An unnamed source told an FBI agent that Lanza’s mother, Nancy Lanza, had become concerned about him a month before the shooting because he had become a “shut in” who hadn’t gone anywhere in three months. She also said that he refused to take medication prescribed to him for Asperger’s Syndrome, a diagnosis he also rejected.

What are we to make of this? Should we do the modern American thing of rushing to “do something” about the latest information?

I think not. The “do something” epidemic in America frequently leads to foolish decisions and later regret. I recommend a more reasoned approach, taking in the fullest picture that we know.

We know now that the police had extraordinarily specific details, but chose not to act on them. We also know that several people, including his mother, were worried about Lanza.

The usual reaction has been to call for more government. More spying. More reporting.

The problem with that is the typical problem that comes with bigger and bigger government: Government doesn’t care about you, or your children, or Adam Lanza’s mom — or Adam Lanza, for that matter. Government, by nature, has policies and procedures it must follow. And then, when those fail, we need more policies and procedures, since we obviously didn’t have enough before.

There is a role for government, to be sure. But for a long time in America, we’ve cast off our neighborly duties, because “someone else” will — or “should” — take care of it (that “someone else” is generally government).

However, that’s never been the way America was supposed to work. We were expected to govern ourselves, since we had such limited governments. We were also connected to one another. And this is where the true problem lies.

Neighbors knew each other and often took part in each other’s lives. Families were deeply involved with one another, and that was the norm. A friend meant more than a name and a profile picture on Facebook.

If this had been the case in Adam Lanza’s life, could the massacre at Sandy Hook have been prevented? It’s not possible to know that. It would’ve been at least somewhat more likely, though.

The town resident did the right thing by reporting to the police what Lanza said. But the police, perhaps overworked, or perhaps too deeply in the rules and regulations mindset, dropped the ball.

We are a severely fragmented — and selfish — society, and we all want to live our lives and not be inconvenienced by other peoples’ problems. “Someone else” can deal with it, after all. Surely by now we can tell that hasn’t worked out.

We don’t need to forfeit our entire lives to be at the beck and call of anyone and everyone. But perhaps we can pare down our TV watching and a few of our kids’ many lessons they go to each week in order to make room for others.

People are hurting and lonely and are dealing with real difficulties. Maybe that person is you. Every one of us could use another person in our lives who actually cares about us. How many of society’s problems would vanish if we simply followed Jesus’ directive to “love one another”?

More than would vanish with another government agency.